NAJ News

How early adopters have been impacted by the Created in the UK scheme

22 Apr 2020

 928 Created-in-the-UK-hero-NAJ

Image: Craig Snape, Sonkai

The NAJ’s recently launched scheme, allowing jewellery, silverware and related UK-made products to be marked and promoted as such, is gathering great momentum. We spoke to NAJ members from across the industry, all enthusiastic early adopters of the Created in the UK mark.

 

Why do you think Created in the UK is important for your business?

Ana De Costa – designer maker:

Ana de Costa image

“I think being Created in the UK is hugely important for me and for other industries and believe that making all my jewellery here is a great way to support the UK economy, with craftspeople who are based here. I feel it is my duty as a business owner to do my bit. I’m also a firm believer that the quality of craftsmanship in the UK is far superior to anywhere else. I have an excellent working relationship with all my suppliers and workshops and am proud to support the UK jewellery industry through my business operating from Hatton Garden in London.” Andrew Hinds, director F Hinds: "Because we are keen to support UK manufacturers whenever we are able to, we were delighted to become the first member of Created in the UK. We value the design innovation, high product quality and fast lead times that come with UK manufacturing. Created in the UK should help us to get that message across to our customers and it will be interesting to see the effect this has on sales of UK-made products, particularly at a time when the UK will be taking a more independent path in the world."

Gemma Perry and Linzi White, House of Solus:

“It’s an important initiative for House of Solus, as our core business model aligns perfectly with the values of Created in the UK. Promoting UK-based, manufactured and made jewellery is a passion of ours and we believe a key trend that will only increase in traction going forward as consumers look to keep their purchases local and support small and independent businesses.” 

Phil Spencer, London DE:

“It’s our aim to support our local ecosystem in Hatton Garden as much as possible. This enables us to build and maintain relationships with local workshops and businesses, ensuring that we can monitor the ethical aspects of our suppliers and quality control their output. This is made possible by the fact we can simply walk to their premises within a few minutes from our office. It also enables us to minimise our carbon footprint, as outsourcing to production centres such as India and China have been shown to be environmentally damaging.”

Gary Wroe, managing director, Hockley Mint:

“Being a British-made business is part of our identity and one of the aspects of Hockley Mint that I believe sets us apart from the competition. Although the world is an incredibly connected place, having access to high quality products direct from Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is something our customers appreciate. Our location means we can reduce lead times, react flexibly to customer demands and speed up delivery times.

“As we make jewellery in-house from start to finish, we also oversee all stages of production and conduct rigorous quality control, without having to rely on international third parties. Aside from the practical aspects of delivery, service and British-made quality, ‘Created in the UK’ prioritises British craftsmanship, keeping skills alive and preserving certain talents for the future. We’re supporting British jewellery-making skills by investing in UK manufacturing and continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible in-house.”

Sonkai workshop

Image: Sonkai workshop

Sara Sweet, Sonkai, Norwich:

“It can be frustrating when products/brands are advertised/sold to the public as British when in fact they are made abroad with cheaper labour and everything else that goes with that. To have a mark that is well-recognised and sought after, that gives the customer 100 per cent assurance that the product they are investing in, is indeed British made, with the care, costs and pride that goes with that, would be wonderful. Everything we make and sell – bespoke and unique jewellery – is made in the UK”

 

How much of what you make/sell is made in the UK and is it increasing?

Ana de Costa

AH: “It's a small proportion by quantity overall, but a larger one by value. Yes, there are signs that it is growing a little in some areas, although it's not that significant overall so far. However, I am actively looking at opportunities to increase it further, both in terms of the number and range of products."

HoS: “All of the product designed and produced by House of Solus is Created in the UK and usually within a five minute walk of the studio on Warstone Lane, Birmingham. We pride ourselves on using gold and silversmiths, setters, casters and polishers based locally and known to us personally, also all pieces are hallmarked by the Birmingham Assay Office and carry the Birmingham anchor as well as the House of Solus mark which will, of course, be joined by the Created in the UK mark.”

PS: “Virtually all of our pieces are made in the UK. The only exception is the occasional item that is created by our Colombian emerald partners in their workshop in Bogotá. We responsibly source stones from South America and Asia from trusted suppliers with strong ethical credentials and create finished jewellery in London. We specialise in coloured gemstone engagement rings, cocktail rings, wedding rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and accessories.”

GW: “The majority of our product is made entirely in the UK. We offer a complete jewellery making service for our customers, from alloying all our own metals to diamond setting, polishing, finishing and point-of-sale marketing. We also support a new generation of CAD/CAM design stars and 3D printing technicians to bring contemporary designs to life. Through our Merrell Casting range of services, Hockley Mint customers can access precious metal casting, rapid prototyping, vulcanised rubber or cold silicone moulding, laser welding and mass finishing.

We’re continuing to focus on in-house product design and manufacturing. In recent years, we’ve started offering all our pieces fully finished set with the customers’ choice of diamonds and gemstones – orders can go directly from our workshop into a retailer’s window. We’re always developing new techniques to allow for different products to be made in the UK, spending time in research and development to expand the options available to customers. As everything happens on-site, we can have complete oversight over this process and continue our promise of British-made.”

Created-in-the-UK-Mark-NAJ

How do you intend to promote your use of the Mark?

A de C: “I will promote my use of it through my website, social media and at any shows I may do, as I feel this covers all bases and it’s a cohesive way to communicate clearly to all consumers. The highest proportion comes from wedding rings, diamond rings and individually 'made to order' items, primarily because of the short lead times and flexible order sizes."

AH: "At point of sale, mostly in displays at the moment."

SS: “It will go on our literature, website and social media. Eventually, it could go on our next range of branded packaging, too.”

HoS: “The Mark will be promoted inhouse in the studio as well as across our online platforms on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and our website. It also makes for a wonderful talking point within our design appointments, an element we already touch upon is that all of our product is created locally so the strength of the backing of Created in the UK just supports this point.”

PS: “We’re very actively engaged with social media where we will certainly promote our use of the Mark, and we’re expanding our digital reach through search engine optimisation and digital advertising and marketing which will further aid this. We’re also featuring in Vanity Fair and Tatler magazines in the coming months, and took a stand at the Emergence 2020 conference in Sydney, Australia in February. The Mark will feature prominently in all of our marketing and advertising campaigns, including digital, print and other media.”

GW: “The Created in the UK mark is a new facet of the Hockley Mint story, which we share across B2B trade magazines, social media and through our network of retail customers, jewellery designers and partners.

We’ve long had an active role in the UK jewellery industry and take part in several important industry events and associations. Using this network, we will promote the principles and benefits of Created in the UK to get more of our peers to join the scheme.”

 

Will you pass on the cost of the mark to your customers?

A de C: “No, as I believe it’s purely a business expense that I need to cover and they should not be charged for the right to know where their goods are made. I think the pricing is fair, as I believe the value it will add to my business far outweighs the costs.

HoS: “We believe that the privilege of using the mark should come at a cost and we're happy to cover the cost of this. Our overall manufacturing costs will cover this fee over time so while in the end the consumer will cover the cost, it won't directly be placed upon them.”

SS: “No, we will absorb the cost within our regular hallmarking fees.”

477 Hockley Mint workshop

Image: Hockley Mint workshop

 

Any other thoughts…

A de C: "I’m really pleased that this mark has come about as it’s been a long time coming! I’ve felt for a long time that there needs to be a clear way to communicate if your products are made in the UK or not. I’ve always made my jewellery in London and have often felt that I’ve had additional hurdles to cross when discussing the cost of a piece with a client. It’s human nature to compare costs and I found that at shows consumers especially couldn't understand why a similar piece made by myself is more expensive than a designer who, say producers in Thailand. Even after explaining that I pay fairer wages and support the UK economy more with my business being based here, I still felt it was an obstacle. However, I feel that the winds of change are among us, especially with millennials who are more socially conscious and care deeply about the environment.”

AH: "We hope that the whole industry backs Created in the UK – a vibrant British manufacturing industry is of huge value to all of us. The more manufacturers that join and the more retailers that promote their products and provide visibility through their displays the better."

GW: “I believe ‘Created in the UK’ and investing in UK manufacturing go together. Customers are conscious of where their products come from, now more so than ever. Being able to demonstrate a clear point of origin, in our case Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, is important to customers who are conscious of carbon footprint and other environmental concerns. Plus, investing in UK manufacturing supports the creation of jobs in our centres of jewellery excellence, like The Jewellery Quarter and London’s Hatton Garden.

Apprentices will only carry on the tradition of diamond mounting, casting, polishing, finishing and other hand-working skills if there is a thriving industry to support them. If we want to nurture the next great jewellery talents, we need to promote British made manufacturing and this is what ‘Created in the UK’ helps us to achieve.”

SS: “I hope this mark is strictly monitored and well-marketed, that it becomes a sought-after, aspirational symbol of true British craft.”

 

The year of ‘Created’

Created in the UK is a scheme launched by the NAJ, which allows jewellery, silverware and related products such as mixed metals created in the UK, to be marked and promoted as such.

The optional additional mark can be struck alongside the hallmark on to products that were made in the UK in accordance with the Trade Descriptions Act (1968) Section 36:

“goods shall be deemed to have been manufactured or produced in the country in which they last underwent a treatment or process resulting in a substantial change”

The term ‘substantial change’ is not defined in the Act, although an Order made under it explicitly states that the process of silverplating stainless-steel cutlery does not constitute a substantial change. Generally, therefore, the meaning of this phrase is left to the manufacturer to determine but legally it would ultimately be for a court to decide.

Similar to Fairtrade Foundation’s mark for Fairtrade Gold, the NAJ will license jewellery makers and manufacturers, who will pay an annual fee to the NAJ for this and would undertake to adhere to the guiding criteria.

Find out more about Created in the UK

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Source: The Jeweller - Summer 2020 | Championing British Manufacturing